Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication Date: 3 July 2012
Format: Paperback, 320 pgs
Source: Personal Library
I'm late to the party, at least when Kendare Blake's books are concerned. But of course, as they always say, it's better to be late than never, so here I am.
I'm always fascinated by the ghost slayer theme, be it movies or books. I'm not talking about the hardcore horrors, just the entertaining and fun ones that allows me to escape from reality once in a while. Reality can be harsh sometimes and we all need something fun and adventurous to take our minds off even if it's only for a while. Reading Anna Dressed in Blood did that to me because it's a story between a ghost slayer and a ghost called Anna, whom he'd set his eyes on to slay since hearing about her hauntings. But most of all, this is also a love story and I knew I'd be in for a good reading treat.
Theseus "Cas" Cassio Lowood is not your ordinary 16-year-old boy who loves having a little fun here and there. Sure, he loves good old fun but his idea of real fun is travelling to places and hunt ghosts down. He inherited his late father's athame; a deadly tool which allows him to kill the dead. His mother, on the other hand, has a knack in fortune telling and selling occult stuff online. One may call her a witch who's good with herbs but she's more like any mother who worries non-stop about their children. They also have a spirit-sniffing cat called Tybalt.
Now Anna is a ghost unlike Cas has hunted and slayed in the past. Cas heard of her name through a friend, and apparently there's a legend of her haunting and killing people that scared most people. But, Anna Korlov actually had a sad story behind it. She was murdered in 1958 when she was on her way to a school dance; her white dress stained with blood. She'd kill anyone who steps into her old Victorian house.
However, as much as Cas wants to slay Anna, he found out that beneath that scary demeanour Anna is simply an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl who's trapped in an old rage and revenge which makes her kills. And on top of it, Anna didn't kill Cas despite knowing that he wanted to kill her.
There are some explanations regarding Anna's past and the way she died. But the climax of this story is when they encounter another supernatural who's more powerful and murderous than Anna, and by then Cas has found himself fallen in love with Anna.
Told from Cas' perspective, Anna Dressed in Blood is an extraordinary ghost story in my opinion; one which is both horrific (there's gore but not many that would put you off) and romantic. Before then, I didn't know that these two elements could mix but it works beautifully in this story. So much so that it made my heart ache, just thinking about Cas and Anna and had me wonder how they'd get a happily-ever-after ending out of the mess they are in. Secondary characters such as Carmel (the popular girl in school) and Thomas (the psychic) add interest and entertainment to the story as they assist Cas in the ghost huntings.
Overall I enjoyed this story. And I've to say the outcome of the ending left me quite speechless, which is a natural reaction given that there is a sequel - Girl of Nightmares. Needless to say, I'm going to devour it after writing this.